There are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration whenever a country’s economic status is called into question, but better access to healthcare, and an improved service for the people, is often a good indicator of a country’s economic and social success.
The growth of healthcare in emerging economies
Healthcare in emerging economies is undergoing “rapid development”, and major investments are being made across the sector – particularly by overseas companies and via foreign aid. However, some 80% of global deaths, often treatable elsewhere, occur in developing countries – a factor that just can’t be ignored. Indeed, across Sub-Saharan Africa, some parts of Central and South America, and Southern Asia, there has been a significant breakdown in the delivery of healthcare, and, while public healthcare is available, the vast majority of the population relies upon equipment and medication funded by private investors and aid. Indeed, across countries such as India, Nigeria, Cambodia and Vietnam, private healthcare is often seen as favourable and less risky; but at what cost?
It’s apparent that things need to change, and across Latin America and the Caribbean, such a transformation is evident; some nine countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru, are showing acceptable increases in the standards of healthcare, predominantly due to government backing, increased awareness and foreign aid. That said, unequal access to healthcare is still a killer, and needs to be addressed with more uniformity.
Kuwait’s healthcare system: a leading example?
The Middle East is one such region in which healthcare appears to be improving and, in fact, exceeding expectation for an emerging economy. A rising number of overseas middle classes coming to settle in such countries, combined with healthcare privatisation, and increased awareness that governments just don’t have the funds that are needed, is ensuring that something is being done to address the imbalances found in healthcare; now, some 50% of health spending in developing countries, and those considered to be “emerging”, is from private investment, which would appear to be the way forward for many economies.
A great example of success within an emerging economy’s healthcare system can be found in Kuwait in the Middle East, owing in part to the country’s social welfare spending. Fahad Al Rajaan, the former Director General of the Public Institution for Social Security, is quoted as saying: “Kuwait has always been looking after its people. This is one of the objectives of the government and the Kuwaiti Parliament.” Al Rajaan also credits the PIFSS, an independently owned institution, and Kuwait’s keenness to reinvest profits from oil extraction as contributing factors in the country’s rise out of poverty. It would seem then, that a state-funded, free healthcare service is possible in emerging economies, if only governments were to distribute existing wealth more evenly.
Healthcare across the emerging economies looks set to improve, whether that’s due to government initiative, private investment, or foreign aid; many countries are already experiencing improved performance of their healthcare services, and better benefits for all. In order to fully assess a country’s status quo, though, many additional considerations should be made, as there is still a long way to go in terms of medical care across the emerging world.